Children’s exposure to antibiotics increases food allergy risk

Children’s exposure to antibiotics increases food allergy risk

Children’s exposure to antibiotics increases food allergy risk, according to the latest research from the University of South Carolina.

By analyzing data from South Carolina Medicaid 2007-2009 data, the researchers found that children exposed to antiobiotics within the first year of life were 1.21 more likely to develop a food allergy than those who didn’t take antibiotics.

The study abstract provides the following methods and results:


This was a matched case–control study conducted using South Carolina Medicaid administrative data. FA cases born between 2007 and 2009 were matched to controls without FA on birth month/year, sex, race/ethnicity. Conditional logistic regression was used to model the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of FA diagnosis. All models were adjusted for presence of asthma, wheeze, or atopic dermatitis.


A total of 1504 cases and 5995 controls were identified. Receipt of an antibiotic prescription within the initial 12 months of life was associated with FA diagnosis in unadjusted and adjusted models (aOR 1.21; 95 % CI 1.06–1.39). Compared to children with no antibiotic prescriptions, a linear increase in the aOR was seen with increasing antibiotic prescriptions. Children receiving five or more (aOR 1.64; 95 % CI 1.31–2.05) antibiotic prescriptions were significantly associated with FA diagnosis. The strongest association was noted among recipients of cephalosporin and sulfonamide antibiotics in both unadjusted and adjusted models.

The researchers concluded:

Receipt of antibiotic prescription in the first year of life is associated with FA diagnosis code in young children after controlling for common covariates. Multiple antibiotic prescriptions are more strongly associated with increases in the odds of FA diagnosis.”
The study showing that children’s exposure to antibiotics increases food allergy risk was published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

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1. “Young Children’s Antibiotic Exposure Associated with Higher Food Allergy Risk.” University of South Carolina. University of South Carolina, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.
2. “Antibiotic Prescription and Food Allergy in Young Children.” Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

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